2023 BREAK THROUGH>>
Welcome to USPAACC’s CelebrASIAN Business + Procurement Conference 2023 — America’s largest and longest-running business development conference convened by Pan Asian Americans. For over 37 years, CelebrASIAN has been creating, sustaining and energizing thousands of partnerships among corporate America, government agencies in the federal, state, and local levels, large nonprofits, the Pan Asian American, and other minority and diverse enterprises. If you are serious about growing your business, then CelebrASIAN Business + Procurement Conference is a must-attend event for you!
DRESS CODE: DAY EVENTS, BUSINESS ATTIRE. SUPPLIER DIVERSITY CHAMPIONS & GALA DINNER, FORMAL OR NATIONAL ATTIRE
|9:00 - 11:00 am PT|
Doing Business with Corporation Roundtable
MBDA Programs for Minority Business and Minority Diversity Serving Institutions
OCC - Office of The Comptroller of The Currency
Co-President; Partner and Co-Founder USPAACC Western Regional Chapter; ASTUTE
Co-President; Partner and Co-Founder
Sandhya Mukkamala is a Partner and Co-Founder at ASTUTE and an accomplished CPA in the State of California. She advises clients on R&D tax incentives, technical accounting, forensic audits, as well as works closely with clients’ CFOs/Controllers to develop stronger processes and controls within the business. She has more than 15 years of experience in audit and review engagements, and complex Merger & Acquisition due diligence audits for private and public accounting sectors.
Prior to founding Astute, Sandhya has served as M&A due diligence auditor for several years in a reputed public accounting firm in Silicon Valley. She has led the audit team in planning, structuring, and performed M&A due diligence activities across all functional areas such as financial, products, operations, and technology etc. She has also served as an external Auditor for various high-tech, automotive, retail, manufacturing, and service industries nationally and globally. As an acumen auditor, she helped companies uncover millions of dollars lost due to fraudulent activities or lack of control over processes, addressed complex accounting and financial reporting challenges.
Besides Auditing and Corporate finance, Sandhya has extensive experience in R&D tax credit consulting projects, performed numerous financial and M&A due diligence audits, resolved complex Accounting for Income tax provisions, SEC Reporting, internal controls testing and fraud testing over financial reporting for a multitude of industries from early startups to Pre-IPO to public companies nationally and globally.
Her unique understanding, problem-solving skills and providing reliable solutions have benefited clients in various industry sectors.
Senior Supplier Diversity Sourcing Manager AT&T
Senior Supplier Diversity Sourcing Manager
Roger Cheng recently joined AT&T as a Sr. Supplier Diversity Sourcing Manager. Prior to AT&T, Roger spent the previous 14+ years with M/WBEs in the technology space leading business development through Supplier Diversity.
Roger, also known as “The Voice,” has served as emcee or VOG for a number of organizations across the country. In 2017, Roger was recognized as the #Hes4Shes Champion at the WBENC National Conference.
Vice President of Procurement Caesars Entertainment, Inc.
Vice President of Procurement
Alan has over 20+ years of experience in Purchasing & Warehousing Management in the Entertainment & Hospitality Industry. Alan joined Caesars Entertainment in June 2011 and is currently the Vice President of Procurement responsible for overseeing Regional Procurement, Warehousing, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability for all Caesars’ properties. Prior to this role, Alan has held multiple Regional Director positions throughout the country most recently the Senior Director of the Western Region. Before coming to Caesars, Alan spent 4 years as the Purchasing Manager at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville, NC and 10 years as the Purchasing and Warehouse Manager at Six Flags America in Maryland.
Head of Supplier Diversity Cushman & Wakefield
Head of Supplier Diversity
Egwu Nwankpah is the Head of Supplier Diversity at Cushman & Wakefield. Egwu is responsible for establishing and maintaining the Global Supplier Diversity Strategy. Egwu is a key part of both the Procurement function as well as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team. In this role he is an advocate for diverse suppliers, provides critical information related to current and potential diverse suppliers, leads engagement with external organizations aligned to supplier diversity, and promotes utilization of diverse suppliers globally to both internal and external stakeholders.
Before coming to Cushman & Wakefield, Egwu was a Vice President at Bank of America as he served as part of the Supplier Diversity and Responsible Sourcing team. Egwu is noted by several supplier diversity councils and organizations for his work in the field of Supplier Diversity. Prior to his work at Bank of America, Egwu was a Manager in the Financial Services group of Deloitte & Touché LLP. In that role, he provided auditing, accounting and advisory services to both public and private clients, inclusive of banks, broker dealers and mortgage banks. Egwu has more than 23 years of combined relevant experience in the realms of internal audit and advisory services, vendor management, supplier diversity/development, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Egwu earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Accounting from Andrews University where he graduated as a member of the prestigious J. N. Andrews Honors Program. He holds an MBA from the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where his focus area was Global Strategy. He is a Certified Public Accountant (NY, MD,and CA), Certified Auditor (IIA), a Chartered Global Management Accountant (AICPA).
In his spare time Egwu is very involved in local and national civic activities, church activities, cheering for various sports teams, and most importantly spending quality time with his beautiful wife and three daughters.
Manager - Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Delta Air Lines
Manager - Supplier Diversity and Inclusion
Axel D. Adams is employed with Delta Air Lines as a Manager in Supplier Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion where he and his colleagues are responsible for ensuring diverse businesses have an opportunity to secure contracts for business with Delta. Prior to Delta, he had a brief stint as National Director of African American Outreach with 2020 Presidential Candidate Tom Steyer’s Campaign. His overall responsibility keeping the campaign focused on AA voters, issues, concerns and what is most important to them.
Axel’s most noted employment was noted with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) where the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. is the Founder and President. Axel served in a many roles such as the Chief Operations Officer in the Chicago Headquarters managing all operations/departments of the organization. staff, finance, education, trade bureau, press, finding, national and regional conventions, and cooperate relationships, emerging markets, and regional offices to name a few. He also held the positions of Bureau Chief, and National Youth Director.
Prior to RPC, Axel was with Westinghouse Savannah River Company as a supervisor in the Nuclear Materials Processing Division. During his employment there, he was the first African American to receive the Community Service Award.
Axel is a recipient of many awards/honors such as the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama; The Georgia Assembly passed House Bill 1984 for his dedication to the betterment of the citizens of the State of Georgia; South Carolina Senate recognized Axel Adams and passed Resolution 1118 for his significant contributions and outstanding achievements in the fields of politics, business, and community outreach. He is the author of “The Journey”, a book detailing his life experiences in politics, community service, and social activism. He is President of the Axel Adams Foundation (www.axeladamsfoundation.com), which is committed to making long-term improvements in education, health and wellness, and combating socioeconomic issues in the Central Savannah River Area. Axel has the honor of being the first African American elected to serve on City Council in New Ellenton South Carolina at the early age of 22 years old, serving two-four-year elected terms on city council. And he was Acting-Mayor and Police commissioner for three years, and the first African American to serve in this capacity as well.
He has a master’s in business administration, and bachelor’s degree in business management. Axel says that God is first and foremost in his life.
Director, Indirect Sourcing Edwards Lifesciences
Director, Indirect Sourcing
Corporate Supplier Diversity Manager Enterprise Holdings
Corporate Supplier Diversity Manager
Dwayne Norris has worked for Enterprise Holdings for the past 17 years. During his time he has served on the North American DE&I Team for Enterprise Holdings for two years from 2018-2020 and the Southeast Region DE&I Team for Enterprise Holdings two years from 2020-2022. He managed daily rental operations as an Area Manager with Enterprise in Orlando FL, including the Orlando International Airport (Largest car rental facility in the world). He is an Alumni of the University of Florida where he earned a BA in History w/ concentration on General Business. He was also a student athlete, playing football at the University of Florida from 2001-2004 (Defensive Tackle). Dwayne was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
Director, Corporate Procurement & Supplier Diversity Hilton
Director, Corporate Procurement & Supplier Diversity
Simone Ray leads Hiltons award-winning Supplier Diversity program, advancing their commitment to increase diversity in supply chain. She partners with HSM category leaders to identify, develop, and mentor minority suppliers. Simone also collaborates closely with Hilton’s D&I team and is always looking for a referral to small and minority business owners! She is originally from Orlando, Florida and attended Florida State University with a concentration on Merchandising. She’s worked with leading retail companies such as Macy’s and JC Penney, holding positions in buying, planning and product development. For her work at Hilton, she was named Buyer of the Year in 2020 by Minority Business News USA. In her free time Simone enjoys hosting events and meeting like-minded creative and community leaders.
Supplier Diversity Manager Kellogg's
Supplier Diversity Manager
Debra Quade is the Supplier Diversity Manager at Kellogg Company. Prior to joining Kellogg, she served as Supplier Diversity Specialist at Toyota Boshoku America in Erlanger, Kentucky and Magna Donnelly in Holland, Michigan.
Debra serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in addition to leading a MiDiCo module for supplier inclusion and opportunity. She represents Kellogg Company on the National Minority Supplier Development Council Working Group, and the Corporate Advisory Council for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in addition to participating on the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Programs Committee, the Food Marketing Institute Group Supplier Diversity Committee, WEConnect International Agricultural Industry Group and the Food & Beverage Industry Group.
Head, Global Supplier Diversity Logitech
Head, Global Supplier Diversity
Specialist, Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier Diversity Merck
Specialist, Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier Diversity
Andrea Arce is a Specialist, Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier Diversity at Merck. Joining the company in 2019, as part of the Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier Diversity Team, Andrea has been responsible for supporting Research Development Sourcing & Procurement category when it pertains to sourcing diverse suppliers. Andrea also leads the Merck Drexel Advanced Leadership Program for Diverse Suppliers, along with external and internal communications. Prior to joining Merck, Andrea was the Site Manager at Express Employment Professionals, where she was responsible for large clients and their staffing needs. Andrea has a Bachelor of Arts from William Paterson University.
Director, Global Inclusion & Supplier Diversity Merck
Director, Global Inclusion & Supplier Diversity
Raul Suarez-Rodriguez currently serves as Director, Global Economic Inclusion and Supplier Diversity at Merck. In this role, Raul is responsible to drive diverse supplier inclusion, innovation and economic growth through lens of the company mission by partnering with internal business leaders and external advocacy groups to grow mutual value, and create a lasting impact on the business and communities where we live and work.
Raul joined Merck in 2018 from CVS Health, where he led their Supplier Diversity Program to Best In Class by being inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable and winning several top awards including National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Corporation of the Year for Innovation, DiversityInc Top Companies (No.1) for Supplier Diversity, and Americas Top Corporation for Women Business Enterprises.
Raul is recognized for his creative and innovative thinking and transformation efforts in Supplier Diversity. Most recently, he was recognized as the Supply Chain Advocate of the Year by Disability: IN for his work around Disability Owned Business Enterprises where he serves as the Procurement Council Co-Chair. Also, the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) recognized Raul as Advocate of the Year and Shining Star. Raul co-led the Retail Industry Group (RIG) driving change and strategy while advocating for diverse businesses to become strategic partners in the global economy for major retail companies. Raul serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Diversity Alliance for Science.
Raul holds a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Nova Southeastern University
Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) NASA
Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP)
Mr. Robert Medina is the Deputy Associate Administrator, for the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) at NASA Headquarters (HQ), since January 2023. Prior to this position, he served as a Small Business Program Manager, at NASA HQ OSBP, from September 2019 to December 2022. Mr. Medina was a Senior Procurement Analyst and Small Business Specialist at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, in Edwards, California from March 1994 through September 2019.
Mr. Medina is a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico and graduated from New Mexico State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Accounting degree. After graduation he continued to work with NASA. He began his career with NASA in 1977 as a cooperative education student.
During his forty-five years with NASA, Mr. Medina has worked in many different procurement positions and at different NASA Centers. He has worked as a purchasing agent, price analyst, contract specialist, contracting officer, procurement analyst, and small business specialist. In addition to his procurement background, he worked three years at NASA Headquarters in the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology, as an Institutional Program Manager, having oversight over NASA’s three Research Centers (Ames, Langley, and Glenn). Most recently, Mr. Medina served on a detail at NASA Headquarters in the Office of Small Business Programs, from December 2016 through December 2017, serving as a Small Business Program Manager with oversight of the small business programs at NASA Stennis Space Center, NASA Shared Services Center, and NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center.
Mr. Medina has been a long-time supporter and member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA). He is a NCMA Fellow and has held a number of NCMA chapter office positions, as well as national functional positions. Mr. Medina also is a member of the Department of Defense (DoD) Western Regional Council for Small Business Education and Advocacy and has served on the Executive Board for the council, as well as a chairperson of the council’s Interface Committee. In 2008 and 2013, he was selected as NASA’s Small Business Specialist of the Year
Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI)
Marcus graduated from Bowie State University with a degree in Communications and concentration in Broadcast Journalism. After graduating, Marcus worked for companies such as Digital, EDS and MCI Worldcom and has 30 years of acquisitions and small business experience. Marcus previously worked at the Federal Aviation Administration for 20 years as a senior contracting officer in acquisitions and senior program analyst in the small business office, while also serving as the Program Manager for FAA’s Mentor-Protégé Program responsible for over 70 mentor-protégé and joint venture partnerships.
Marcus joined The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2018 and is currently the Business Procurement Analyst and Small Business Specialist leading the Small Business Program in the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. Marcus is passionate about working with small businesses and assisting in their growth. He believes small businesses are the backbone of society and there is a renewed energy around Supplier Diversity and Inclusion in today’s workplace which should pave the way for incredible growth in the small business community.
Supplier Diversity Manager Southern California Edison
Supplier Diversity Manager
Dennis J. Thurston, a 36-year employee of Southern California Edison (SCE), beginning in August of 1987 serving in his current capacity as a Supplier Diversity Program Manager for 25 years assisting small and diverse businesses understand the Company’s general procurement practices and procedures.
Prior to SCE, Mr. Thurston worked at Consolidated Edison in New York bringing 12 years of experience with him.
In 2021, Dennis received the 2021 Corporate Advocate of the Year Award from the Southern California Minority Development Council.
In 2018, Dennis received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California for outstanding work within the Native American business community and tribal leaders.
The U.S. Small Business Administration, Santa Ana District Office selected Dennis as the 2017 Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for his devotion to the success and advancement of Veterans in business in his professional capacity at SCE and his personal life.
During the 2017 Inaugural Veterans In Business (VIB) Network National Conference, Dennis Thurston received the Above & Beyond Bravo Zulu Award recognizing Veteran Business Advocates that go Above & Beyond to help the Veteran business community grow and succeed.
In 2016 Dennis was nominated for the State Agency Recognition Awards (SARA) given by the Department of General Services.
In recognition of his contributions as a role model of Edison International’s values and guiding behaviors of integrity, continuous growth and improvement, excellence, respect, and teamwork, Dennis was awarded the Chairman’s Award, now the Edison Award in 2009. Edison selects only 40 employees out of over 15,000 for the first of the prestigious award.
Mr. Thurston still volunteers for many community activities geared toward mentorship and guidance of small and diverse businesses in the areas of career, jobs, and starting businesses.
For the past 27 years, served as an off-ice official for the National Hockey League (NHL) assigned to the Anaheim Ducks and Dennis represented the NHL at the first ever game played outside North America in Japan, Helsinki, and Berlin.
Senior Program Manager, Supplier Diversity T-Mobile
Senior Program Manager, Supplier Diversity
Accomplished leader with over 20 year's experience managing Supplier Diversity, Contract Negotiations and leading cross-functional teams of an organization to achieve cost savings. Write policy language, programs and processes to advance a corporation's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals. Joyce recently developed T-Mobile’s workforce development program - NextTech Diversity to nationally fund training and job placement for women and men of color to become network technicians and network equipment drivers.
Edkedsha (KeeKee) Mathis
Supplier Sustainability & Diversity Senior Leader Trane Technologies
Edkedsha (KeeKee) Mathis
Supplier Sustainability & Diversity Senior Leader
KeeKee joined Trane Technologies in April 2021, before joining Trane Technologies, she worked in the automotive industry for thirteen years at Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. where she was the Supplier Diversity Manager. Her accolades include an array of awards, acknowledgements, and nationwide recognitions including but not limited to 2017 and 2022 Corporation of the Year and Corporate Representative of the Year for (TSMSDC) TriState Minority Supplier Development Council and 2022 USPAACC Corporation of the Year. She has been recognized for many years as one of the Top 30 Diversity Professionals and Women Leading Diversity on a national level as a leader in the Supplier Diversity community. She has held many board seats and has chaired many boards across the nation. She is a graduate of Leadership Chattanooga, Urban League’s Inclusion by Design, YALP, and is a part of the current cohort of Leadership Tennessee. KeeKee brings more has more than 26+ years within purchasing which includes supporting as a regional buyer, service buyer, supply chain support, key user for all the purchasing systems and continuous improvement such as (TPM) Total Planned Maintenance, QCDSM, and Lean Management. She is committed to mentor diverse suppliers but also to build strategic “partnerships” and “alliances” with diverse suppliers. Now, also leading supplier sustainability within her organization her role is the integration of social, ethical, and environmental performance factors into the process of selecting suppliers. The goal is to build strong, long term relationships with suppliers as we “Boldly challenge what’s possible for a sustainable world.”
KeeKee holds has a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from University of Phoenix, Chattanooga, TN.
Director, Supplier Diversity and Development Union Bank
Director, Supplier Diversity and Development
Donna Ruff joined the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team, managing Supplier Diversity & Development at Union Bank in 2018, where the bank was committed to promoting economic vitality in the communities they serve and increasing the number of diverse business enterprises from which they purchase goods and services.
Donna brings a unique perspective to Supplier Diversity, having sat on both sides of the table as a prime supplier and as a large corporation that prime suppliers seek to partner with. She works diligently to help diverse businesses do business with the bank and find other growth opportunities for those businesses. Donna brings her knowledge and experiences to continue building on strong, sustainable, and inclusive initiatives. She holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA. Before joining the Union Bank family, Donna brings more than 15 years of experience, jointly supporting business development and managing supplier diversity for a non-diverse private corporation, where she was successful at bringing new revenue streams to the company and creating/implementing the company-wide supplier diversity program.
Donna is a committee participant with the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity, Western Regional Supplier Development Council Board Member and Board Secretary, Advisory Council Co-Chairperson for the Asian Business Association – Los Angeles, Advisory Council Member with the UC Small and Diverse Business Advisory Council, Veterans in Business Network Corporate Advisory Board Member, California Commanders Veteran Council Member, Council for Supplier Diversity San Diego Board Member and Vermont Slauson Educational Development Corporation Board Member
Senior Director, Supplier Diversity Sourcing Walmart
Senior Director, Supplier Diversity Sourcing
As of January 2023, Sherry leads the strategy and team responsible for building an inclusive supply chain at Walmart that is reflective of Walmart’s customer base. She is tasked with helping to grow Walmart’s direct and indirect spend with certified diverse owned businesses. Her team works as business partners to help build diverse supplier connections, drive internal engagement, and support external stakeholder collaborations all in service of helping to level the playing field for diverse owned businesses to grow with Walmart.
|9:30 - 11:00 am PT|
EBRG (Employee Business Resource Group) Caucus
Product Design Apple
Designer, Conversational Interaction Apple
Designer, Conversational Interaction
Speakers and Table Leaders
Global Lead of Pan Asian Network (PAN) Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS)
Global Lead of Pan Asian Network (PAN)
Jennifer Rasing is a passionate scientist and leader who has spent a career of over 20 years dedicated to the biopharmaceutical industry. She currently leads the Pan Asian Network (PAN) People & Business Resource Group for Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS).
As Global PAN Lead, Jennifer is committed to championing an inclusive workplace that welcomes, values, and elevates diverse voices.
Beginning her journey at BMS in 2004 as a research scientist, Jennifer’s extensive experience in cell-based and immunological assays was key to the approval of multiple marketed products. Since then, she has held various roles in the clinical trial space, managing key global Immuno-Oncology clinical trial studies as a Senior Project Manager and Senior Auditor.
Throughout her tenure at BMS, Jennifer has taken meaningful steps to drive equitable advancement and outcomes for all. To provide a safe culture where colleagues can bring their authentic selves to work and fostering inclusion and ensure every colleague — across diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences — is valued, respected and feels a sense of belonging.
Spending many years as a scientist in clinical trials, Jennifer recognizes that to drive a more just and equitable society, we must address health disparities and the social determinants of health in communities around the world.
Jennifer is a change champion, promoting PAN and awareness of Asian and Pacific Islander issues by speaking and driving the development of groundbreaking programs throughout the organization. Her commitment to an inclusive workplace that values diverse viewpoints has led to key initiatives, spanning across many facets of BMS culture. She has spoken on behalf of Bristol Myers Squibb on topics on Inclusion & Diversity, health equity and social justice in the AANHPI community and led initiatives to elevate and advance Asian talent across BMS. In addition, Jennifer has mentored aspiring future Asian leaders in the company.
Jennifer holds a BS degree in biotechnology from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader Edwards Lifesciences
Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader
Inclusion thought leader, diversity, inclusion and equity strategist, culture changer, influencer, internal and relationship architect with over 15 + years related experience in diversity and inclusion design, management and community engagement.
Currently practicing D&I in the healthcare industry. Prior to that spent 12 years at Starbucks Coffee Company, providing D&I subject matter expertise, best practices, tools and strategic consultation across the corporate and retail businesses.
Kimberley has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Sociology (Race Relations and Education) from University of California, Los Angeles. She holds several certifications: D&I from eCornell, Unconscious Bias and Cultural Intelligence training.
Outside of work, Kimberley enjoys listening to podcasts and running, spending time with her husband, George, and children George, Alexander (twins) and Grace.
Manager - Program Delivery and Analysis JP Morgan Chase
Manager - Program Delivery and Analysis
In her role as Program Manager for the Office of Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs – a DEI Center of Excellence – Anita oversees programming for the team’s Business Growth and Entrepreneurship pillar and supports overall infrastructure and operations.
Since joining the firm in 2013, Anita has held multiple roles with the Consumer Bank’s Client & Employee Experience team and the Market Expansion Field Strategy & Support Program Management team, supporting Chase’s retail expansion into 25 new states. Anita served as chair of NextGen, the firm’s early career professional Business Resource Group, from 2020-2022 and currently serves as an advisor.
Anita is very closely tied to her Indo-Caribbean & South Asian roots and is actively involved in celebrating both communities in the Tampa Bay area, particularly through her involvement in Delta Phi Omega, a South Asian Interest Sorority.
Head of Supplier Management MassMutual
Head of Supplier Management
Naina Patel has over 20 years of experience as a leader in all areas of global procurement within pharma and insurance industries. Leading operations strategic sourcing, Category, and supplier management as well as manufacturing and supply chain strategy. Naina is results-driven and drives maximum value by leading change, creating vision, collaboration, inclusive approach, and inspiring people to achieve goals. Throughout her career Naina has focused on driving simplicity, process improvement, operational excellence, relationship management and organizational transformation.
In her current Executive leadership role at MassMutual life Insurance company as Head of Supplier Management Naina is focused on aligning and working closely with MassMutual leadership and cross-functional stakeholders across all business units to ensure that the management of MassMutual suppliers is executed consistently and efficiently across all levels while driving diversity and inclusion within the process and with supplier partners
Naina is an Avid runner, loves cooking and traveling.
Certified Supplier Diversity Specialist SAS Institute
Certified Supplier Diversity Specialist
Saima has had a lifelong passion for helping others for the past 8 years and is the supplier diversity specialist. Her current role allows her to use this passion and energy by engaging with diverse business owners, and SAS to increase utilization of minority, women, veteran, LGBTQ and disabled-owned businesses. Currently she serves on the ISM-Carolina Virginia-Triangle Chapter- President, HarmonyNC - Board of Directors. Disability-IN-NC- Board of Directors.
Saima has held various positions in her 24+ years at SAS, Finance, Licensing & Contracts, Strategic Sourcing & Procurement. Her experience has given her an in-depth knowledge of business development, contracts and sourcing & procurement. She has a Bachelor's from Campbell University.
DEI Asian and Indigenous People Segment Manager U.S. Bank
DEI Asian and Indigenous People Segment Manager
Leads in creating the long-term vision for the Asian and Indigenous Peoples segment and developing growth business plans. Partners with business lines to provide segment-specific cultural insights, and consults on internal and external programs. Provides segment specific strategy and insights to inform business activity and market engagement for employees, customers and communities.
Procurement Supplier Diversity Specialist U.S. Bank
Procurement Supplier Diversity Specialist
Pafoua Xiong joined the Supplier Diversity team at U.S. Bank in 2021 as the Procurement Supplier Diversity Specialist, where her work is focused on enhancing the Supplier Diversity program by actively working to grow relationships with diverse-owned businesses and partners. Shortly after joining the Bank, Pafoua became a board member for the Asian Heritage Business Resource Group (BRG).
Pafoua founded her way into this industry after working as a Merchandiser Assistant at The Scoular Company managing the inventory of pet food ingredients. She later moved on to support the non-retail side of supply chain at Target for 3 years.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota where she majored in Journalism and Communication Studies.
Outside of the office, you can find her hiking around state parks with her Pitbull, listening to supernatural podcasts, and spending time with her family.
Senior Consultant - Diversity & Inclusion Wells Fargo
Senior Consultant - Diversity & Inclusion
Jerome Flores is a Senior Diversity & Inclusion consultant focused on enhancing the employee resource network program to grow leadership capabilities, bench strength and serve as a diverse resource to influence business outcomes. Jerome has always been passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging helping to stand up the Washington, DC chapter of Pride Connections, and forming relationships through community outreach and engagement.
As a highly skilled and experienced professional, Jerome has spent 19+ years working in the financial services industry. With a proven track record of success. Jerome is become known for their thought leadership, creativity, problem-solving, and attention to detail. Jerome has a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, Office of Executive Education, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the Pennsylvania State University and is committed to staying up to date with the latest industry trends and best practices.
And is based in Washington, DC
|11:15 am - 2:00 pm PT|
Breakthrough & Soar: Leadership Luncheon
Master of Ceremony
Head of Meta Prosper & Global Head of Social Marketing Meta
Head of Meta Prosper & Global Head of Social Marketing
Designer, Conversational Interaction Apple
Designer, Conversational Interaction
VP Strategy and Client Partnership Cynet Systems Inc
VP Strategy and Client Partnership
Results-oriented business professional with several year’s combined experience in Marketing, Project Management, and Supply Chain Management over several lines of business to include commodities pertaining to contingent labor, aviation, and construction and facility management. Astute in leveraging human capital with extensive supplier relationship management on a global scale for creative workforce solutions. Broad experience working in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual environment; skilled in problem-solving and overcoming external barriers to meet key objectives. Able to quickly assess situations and identify resources; collaborating with vendors, consultants, colleagues, and stakeholders to create conditions for success.
Vice Predisent, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Denny's
Vice Predisent, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Nearly 25 years ago, April Kelly-Drummond began her professional career as a wide-eyed, ambitious executive assistant to corporate diversity and community relations. Now, she’s leading “America’s Diner” diversity initiatives, playing a significant role in transforming the company’s image and forging lasting relationships with a who’s who in diverse national organizations.
April serves as the Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Denny’s Inc., the nation’s largest family dining restaurant operator with more than $2 billion in annual sales. She has been an integral player in championing the company’s “Bold Way Forward,” a company-wide ongoing effort to create diversity at all levels, improve corporate culture and strengthen and expand relationships with community partners. The award-winning executive has been named to Savoy’s Top 100 Influential Women in Corporate America.
Among her many accomplishments, she established and chairs Denny's first DEI Council chair, sponsored by CEO and Denny's board member. This includes seven business resource groups that impact the local and national community. She also played a pivotal role in and negotiated Denny’s title sponsorship of the Orange Blossom Classic, an event that had not occurred in 43 years.
April is an experienced executive in corporate diversity and multicultural affairs who currently works directly with all members of the company’s C-Suite and marketing team to create effective programs and partnerships with major national organizations.
She has become known as an effective collaborator in the company, coordinating messaging and program implementation with corporate board members, the executive team, and the media to help strengthen and raise the profile of Denny’s work in diversity, its core products, and services. She has become a key team member in helping to roll out the company’s outreach for its major Hungry for Education program.
As part of this major corporate initiative, the company has awarded more than $1.3 million in scholarships, recognizing academic achievement and students in elementary, high school and college who have worked in their communities to help end hunger. April has forged relationships with nine diverse organizations including, the Tom Joyner Foundation, the U.S. Pan American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), the Urban League of the Upstate of South Carolina, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the Magic Johnson Foundation to create the “Hungry for Education” Scholarship program.
April also has helped raised Denny’s profile with many organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Civil Rights Museum, The King Center, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, the Step Up Foundation, and the Hispanic College Fund. She has worked tirelessly to help the company gain significant national media attention from civil rights groups for becoming a corporate example of increasing diversity among its workforce, its franchisees and its vendors. She has received numerous awards and coverage on TV (60 Minutes), Fortune, Black Enterprise, and Essence. Other recognition for April and Denny’s efforts have appeared in Hispanic Business, Savoy Magazine, Family Digest, and Latino Magazine. She has been acknowledged at the beginning of the book, titled “Denny’s Turnaround Story” by Jim Adamson for the contributions made to Denny’s Brand Acknowledged in the book, titled “Managing for Diversity for a Global Inclusive Workforce” by Michalle E. Mor Barak.
Additionally, she was named South Carolina Women of the Year /Human and Community Relations Award by the Governor of South Carolina; was named Minority Advocate of the Year by Asian Enterprise Magazine for two consecutive years. In her community, April is a corporate board member of the League of United Latin American Citizen Multicultural Foodservice Hospitality Alliance, the Southern Area Links, Incorporated, and a former board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upstate. She is currently president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated chapter and president of the Lambda Rho Omega chapter of Gaffney, SC.
April believes that you must continuously learn, putting knowledge into practice. She demonstrated that philosophy while working on her B.A. in Professional Studies with a concentration in organizational leadership and development at the College of Charleston. As an example of her ability to bring disparate groups together to rally around a common cause, April and Denny’s co-sponsored with the college “Advancing Diversity and Inclusion: Building Successful Organizations and Communities,” a conference that attracted over 200 attendees. In an interview, April later said, “My goal was to apply my learnings to impact my job and the community … I was able to achieve this goal by participating in the evolution of the CofC’s (diversity) event.”